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[05/5/2005] Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening


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Title: Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening

Developer: Capcom

System: Playstation 2 (PAL)

Release date: March 24th, 2005

60Hz option: Yes

Additional stuff: Manual, Capcom's product lineup leaflet, online-enabled Monster Hunter demo

Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/dmc3/

 

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The original Devil May Cry was a game unlike any other when it came out. DMC tells the story of Dante, a half human, half-demon that hunts demons as his pasttime, and does it with style to boot. DMC's main catch was a combo system that integrated dual pistol action seamlessly into impressive swordplay. The game is also exceptionally hard on any difficulty setting and even the first boss was quite a handful to many players - including myself. Of course, DMC needed a sequel but DMC2 was less than stellar and many fans of the original lost faith in Capcom, blaming them for crippling the entire series. Finally, after a long wait, DMC3 is here...

 

 

Devil May Cry 3 - Does it deliver?

 

To answer the question in bold... Yes, yes it does. By the truckloads. So let's get down to it then.

 

I guess Capcom had some serious pressure when making this game, seeing as the development started before DMC2 hit the shelves, and it has taken roughly two years and four months to get here. According to Capcom, DMC3's staff consists of only the best people of DMC1 and DMC2 teams, and it shows.

 

The story

The game starts out as two men are clashing swords in the rain a top of a tall tower. A woman's voice tells the tale of Sparda, the legendary demon knight, and how she met his two sons. After some events, you'll see the main character, Dante almost ready to open up his office. Suddenly a man, by the name of Arkham comes inside and explains that Dante's brother, Vergil, has a present for him. After that, all hell breaks loose. Literally. It's clear from the beginning that Dante shares little love with his twin brother. After a while, a tall tower erects from the bowels of earth, with Vergil on top. Dante then heads inside the Temen-Ni-Gru tower to confront Vergil.

 

It seems that Capcom has put more effort into the story and it has more polished feel to it. DMC's story was ok, but it left too many unanswered questions about Dante's and Vergil's past as well as their fate. DMC2's story was just poor. There are also multiple locales in DMC3 and not all action takes place inside Temen-Ni-Gru.

 

Characters

 

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Dante: The protagonist. Just started a detective agency. This time, Dante is younger, has more attitude and is all-around more badass than before. Starts off with his Rebellion sword from DMC2. Dante talks trash CONSTANTLY and oozes confidence and coolness. He also talks a whole lot more during battle. During a cutscene, Dante talks trash. Start a good combo, Dante talks trash. Taunt, Dante talks trash. etc. Sure, some of the things he says are downright corny, but David Wittenberg does a great job as Dante.

 

Vergil: Dante's twin brother. Appeared with the Temen-Ni-Gru tower. Isn't as reckless as Dante and hates him with a passion. Carries a katana-type sword.

 

Arkham: An ominous bald man that carries a book with him and delivered Vergil's "invitation" to Dante's office.

 

Lady: A young woman that excels in demon hunting. Rides a jet-powered motorbike and sports a respectable arsenal of weapons, such as dual sub-machine guns, grenades and a bazooka. Her skills rival Dante's to the extreme. Best female lead in the whole series.

 

The Jester: Clad in dark, appears out of nowhere and is totally insane. Every time he opens his mouth, it is as if he's ready to be taken away by the guys in white coats and locked into a padded cell. Huge props to whoever gave his voice to this character.

 

I have to mention few of the bosses, since they have more personality than ever before. For example the twin guardian golems, Agni & Rudra, procrastinate and talk way too much.

 

Graphics

Two words. Very impressive. Capcom build DMC3's graphics engine from scratch, and it features realistic weather effects, rippling water, projected shadows, reflections, etc. It's great to see eg. light reflecting from different surfaces, such as Dante's coat. The motion capture is smooth, and facial animations are very well done. Every cutscene has been made using the engine, and there are no FMV sequences. A huge step up from the previous games in every aspect. There might be some visible jaggies, but if there really is, it's unnoticeable because the action is fast and almost non-stop... Which brings me to the next category.

 

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System and gameplay

This is it folks, the category that defines whether the game is a bliss or a total disaster.

 

I really must tip my hat for Capcom for learning from their mistakes and giving the fans what they truly wanted: The gameplay of DMC that's been taken to a whole new level. DMC3 does this with flying colors. Like I said earlier, DMC3 mixes the gameplay elements of DMC and DMC2 and adds a whole lot more of it's own. Ebony & Ivory have been toned down to match DMC and the basic moves from DMC are present. From DMC2, there's the Lock-on feature. Some new universal move include such jaw droppers as Free Ride, where Dante jumps on a fallen enemy and rides it like a surfboard while wildly shooting in all directions. Dante can now carry only two Devil Arms and guns simultaneously and switch them on the fly, which in turn creates some awesome combo potential.

 

The combo ranking system has also been revised and a more integral part in gameplay this time around. As you string more moves together, the ranking meter starts to rise. When it reaches max, it starts off from the next grade. Having a higher rank earns more orbs, more points to level up Styles and makes it easier to execute certain moves.

 

Combo rankings appear at the top-right corner of the screen:

 

D: Dope

C: Crazy

B: Bravo

A: Alright

S: Sweet

SS: Showtime

SSS: Stylish

 

However, the most notable change is the Style System.

 

The Style System is one of the reasons why DMC3 is so fun to play. The amount of of moves Dante has in his possession have grown at least ten fold from past games. The player can choose from 4 different styles (at first). The style you choose affects the skills Dante can use and shifts his offence and defence accordingly. Skills also change depending on what Devil Arms and firearms Dante uses. Styles level up as you use them, and more style-specific skills become available. Styles can be changed at the start of each mission or at Divinity Statues.

 

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The four styles that can be chosen in the beginning are as follows:

 

Trickster: Focuses on speed, agility and avoiding enemy attacks. Skills such as Wall Hike from DMC2 become available.

 

Swordmaster: Focuses on different Devil Arms skills. Skills such as Pop Shredder become available.

 

Gunslinger: Focuses on firearm-specific skills. Skills such as Rainstorm and Twosome Time become available. Skills like Charge Shot from DMC are no longer universal and only usable in this style.

 

Royal Guard: Focuses on parrying enemy attacks and counter-attacking. Skills such as Block & Charge become available.

 

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In addition there are at least 2 more styles that need to be unlocked. Each style has a Crazy Combo. These are flashy moves usually used as finishers and require certain button presses to initiate. Crazy Combos change depending on the firearm or Devil Arms equipped. Dante's combo ranking affects how easy it is to pull off Crazy Combos. As you level up Styles, more Crazy Combos become available.

 

Finally, there's the Devil Trigger that all DMC fans love. It turns Dante into a demon and he has a whole new set of skills to use. Each weapon Dante uses has it's own Devil Trigger, meaning that Dante's appearance changes along with his Devil Arms. Both Dante and Vergil have new devil forms, and they have been designed by ATLUS' Kazuma Kaneko, who has designed monsters and other characters for such games as Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga. Kaneko agreed to design the devil forms if ATLUS could use Dante in their own game :P. At the time of this writing, I have yet to unlock Dante's demonic power.

 

Dante's Devil Form (Rebellion) - Vergil's Devil Form

 

 

Musical score and sound effects

Excellent once again. DMC3's composer Tetsuya Shibata has made an excellent mishmash soundtrack that mixes heavy metal, trance, eerie ambience and even choirs together. The soundtrack fits the game like a glove and even if your not a fan of said genres, it doesn't mean that you won't like the soundtrack. DMC3 does things differently in this department as well, as the soundtrack has more vocals and lyrics. Shawn McPherson from Hostile Groove is in charge of the lyrics and vocals in the heavy metal tracks and other vocals have been done by David Baker. The score fits perfectly in every situation and gets your adrenaline going.

 

Sound effects are up to par with rest, so no complaints there.

 

Difficulty, AI and controls

Let me say this straight off the bat: Don't think that DMC3 is a walk in the park. The game is HARD. I can't stress this fact enough. If you're the type of gamer that gets frustrated easily, don't play this game. According to Play Magazine, DMC3 on Easy is harder than DMC was on Normal... they'd be right.

 

I'm currently playing on Easy and had my fair share of Game Overs by now. Bosses are enormous and have strenght to match. The first boss owned my sorry ass four consecutives times before finally giving in, and with that the boss takes the 'Hardest first boss in a video game' award from DMC's Phantom. Regular enemies are no joke either in numbers.

 

There are several difficulty levels, which need to be unlocked. There's Easy (+ Easy Automatic On/Off), Normal, Hard, Legendary Dark Knight, the dreaded Dante Must Die, and an elusive sixth one called Heaven or Hell. The thought that there's a difficulty level beyond DMD is just chilling. The use of Easy Automatic mode doesn't penalize the player like it did in DMC, so those without lightning-fast reflexes can get into the game.

 

One of the cool features that has been put into DMC3 is the ability to select any mission you've cleared before, in any difficulty setting you've unlocked. In the same screen you can check your grade from the missions you've cleared and improve them if need be. Missions are graded by time taken, style points, damage received and used items.

 

The enemy AI is quite impressive. Both regular enemies and bosses alike adapt to the style you use, and some like parrying your attacks. If you jump to a higher vantage point, they follow, instead of circling below you.

 

The PS2 controller is in full use in DMC3 and every button has a specific function. Now you can't play using the digital pad, instead those are mapped to gain quick access to Equip screen, Map etc. You can now move the camera with right analog stick in some locations. L3 switches targets and L2/R2 switch firearms and Devil Arms respectively. The button layout is almost the same as it was in DMC with a few changes. Dante responds well to commands, although some moves are hard to pull off (like the horizontal Wall Hike) in the heat of battle.

 

Control scheme

 

Overall impression

As you might guess by having read this lenghty review, I honestly don't find too many faults in this game. There are some, like the camera system; although it is far better in DMC3 than it was in the past two games, it's still a bit stiff at times. During Lock-on, the camera does a good job showing both Dante and his opponent.

DMC3 is what DMC2 should have been and more. Hack & Slash games might not be everyone's cup of tea, but what DMC3 does, it does it with such presentation and attitude, that other similar games fall far behind. I found myself playing some of the missions over and over again, just to see the numerous cutscenes where Dante (and Lady) do what they do best: Kill demons with such a style that chills went down my spine (yes, the directing is that good). Dante's trashtalking must be heard and Lady's slow motion (and real-time) acrobatics are a treat to the eyes. Even if you've never played any of the DMC games, at least rent DMC3 and see what you think. You might end up liking it.

 

Trailers and gameplay videos

 

Pros:

 

+Style

+Attitude

+Characters

+Gameplay

+Graphics

+Soundtrack

+The amount of unlockable stuff

 

Cons:

 

-The camera system could still use improvement, but no big deal overall.

-I don't have color in 60Hz mode :/

-Some of the cutscenes are slightly jerky thanks to PAL 50Hz.

 

Story (so far): 9

Graphics: 9

Gameplay: 10

Music/sound effects: 9.5

Difficulty: 9.5

Feel: 10

 

Overall: 9.6

 

 

EDIT: Fixed picture links. No more mere thumbnail pictures. Fixed grammar and added some stuff. Added link to trailers.

Edited by Agozer
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I wish Lady had a better name.

Yeah, I wonder why Capcom just opted for Lady... The past two games had females with actual names.

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I've always written the DMC games off as fanboy fodder, but this one actually sounds like fun. Question(s):

 

How often do you really change "styles?" Is it the kind of thing where you'll pick one or two and stick with them, or do you need all 4+ to get through different situations? I ask because it sounds like this could add some replay value - if each style is suitably complex.

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I've always written the DMC games off as fanboy fodder, but this one actually sounds like fun.  Question(s):

 

How often do you really change "styles?"  Is it the kind of thing where you'll pick one or two and stick with them, or do you need all 4+ to get through different situations?  I ask because it sounds like this could add some replay value - if each style is suitably complex.

Personally, I change styles every so often. From what I've read, beating the game doesn't require the usage of all styles, hell you can only stick with one and still beat the game, but you miss most of the style-specific skills and Crazy Combos.

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Ok people, some critique pertaining the actual review please. Was it informative? (content, language, structure etc.).

 

Something more than "omg lol u suck at spelling" would be nice.

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I thought it was a solid review. If I had to critique it, I'd say it might not have been critical enough - but if you really liked the game that much, then one wouldn't expect it to be terribly critical, right?

 

All in all, an excellent review. I felt informed enough to decide to give the series a chance, while not feeling like I'd been run down by the fanboy bus.

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I thought it was a solid review.  If I had to critique it, I'd say it might not have been critical enough - but if you really liked the game that much, then one wouldn't expect it to be terribly critical, right?

 

All in all, an excellent review.  I felt informed enough to decide to give the series a chance, while not feeling like I'd been run down by the fanboy bus.

Yes, I I thought many times while writing the review "Am I being too lenient with this game?", but like I said in the closing paragraph, no matter how hard I ried to find faults in the game, I couldn't.

 

Sure, others might disagree, since opinions vary.

 

Seriously guys, get the OST. It's awesome.

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It's a great review, and informative enough. And not so biased, i must add. I have the game but can't find the time to play it to the end :(

 

THe only thing is you really suck at this game if you get owned by the 1st boss 4 four time :P I beat him at first try in Normal....although barely :P

Edited by L.S.D
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